The lineup of names opposing incumbent Adam Olsen for MLA in Saanich North and the Islands is filling up.
Stephen Roberts hopes the third time is the charm as he will run again for the BC Liberals. While the party has yet to formally announce him as its candidate, the local executive nominated him Monday.
Roberts finished in third in 2017 with roughly 26.5 per cent of the vote, and second in 2013 with about 33 per cent. He questioned the need for an election now, accusing the New Democrats of playing with the health of British Columbians.
“Our first message is that the election is not necessary in a pandemic, and we are going to need to be very careful as we go out and reach out to voters,” he said, pointing to the high number of vulnerable residents in the riding. “And as if that wasn’t enough, the NDP … is also violating the fixed election law and they are breaking their agreement with the Greens to provide stable government for four years.”
Such behaviour shows the public cannot trust the New Democrats, Roberts said. “Most importantly going into the election, we need a competent administration to build BC after this pandemic is over. We need competent economic managers and people who are competent running ministries to make sure BC gets back on track, and only BC Liberals are going to be able to deliver.”
When asked where New Democrats have failed, Roberts acknowledged “we (as B.C.) have done a great job” to date in terms of the pandemic itself.
“[Provincial health officer Dr.] Bonnie Henry is largely responsible for that,” he said. “I don’t think that the provincial government can take as much credit as they think they can for it.” Specifically, he accused the province of mishandling the $5 billion relief package passed across party lines in the spring. “They haven’t spent the money yet, they haven’t delivered for British Columbians.”
When asked why he would make a better MLA than Olsen, Roberts said it is important for the riding to have representation in a party with the potential to govern. “You get very little done with minority representation,” he said. “I don’t know if Adam Olsen has done a lot for the riding actually over his three years. Mostly, he has been supporting the NDP. That was a surprise for many voters.”
A current resident of Salt Spring Island, Roberts was born in Sidney. Professionally, he worked abroad (London, New York, and Hong Kong) as the chief operating officer (COO) in the investment research divisions of three international banks.
“Since I came back home, I have very involved in the non-profit sector,” said Roberts, who chairs the Vancouver Hospice Society. He has also been involved with organizations on Salt Spring Island and Saanich Peninsula, including as a board member of the Mary Winspear Centre’s Memorial Park Society, and being an active supporter of the Peninsula Streams Society and Saanich Peninsula LionsFood Bank.
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